Last week, Twitter board member Evan Williams drove the company’s stock up a few percentage points by simply being asked a question: Can Twitter (TWTR) remain an independent company? Williams’ answer, a “no comment,” followed by a statement that Twitter’s board will “consider the right options,” sounded like a fiduciary duty statement to me.
The answer echoed Williams’ memorable answer to the same question at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference last year: “Blah, blah, blah, the board will do what it’s supposed to do.”
Fiduciary or no, the world interpreted it as Twitter indicating it is for sale. The company’s lagging share price jumped 6%. On Twitter (naturally), commentators joked that sale rumors were the only thing that could boost Twitter’s dismal stock price this year.
Why the rumors over a boilerplate answer? I blamed the fact the world wants Twitter to sell. It’s become painful to watch the near-constant executive turnover, negative headlines, and shrinking revenue growth. When I assessed the company’s future in a feature story this February, Twitter executives assured me that the company had turned a corner—the drama was over. Finally, 10 years in, the company was growing up, learning to execute, getting back on track.
That hasn’t exactly been the case.
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Capping off a summer of even more drama around abuse on its platform, today Recode reports that Twitter’s board of directors will discuss the company’s fate as a standalone company at its board meeting Thursday. The article speculates about Google and 21st Century Fox making a bid, activist shareholders, and fresh rounds of layoffs.
Regardless of whether Twitter is in play, the drama is definitely not over.